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Home-school, private-school families win tax break

Posted by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 4:49 AM
  • 15 Replies

Home-school, private-school families win tax break

SC House approves private school choice bill

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 9:10 a.m.

COLUMBIA — After eight years of fighting, proponents of helping parents send their children to private schools won approval Wednesday in the South Carolina House.

The House voted 65-49 on a measure supporters say represents a home-grown version of a long-divisive issue fueled by out-of-state money.

Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Mauldin, said it's about providing parents choices.

"I don't believe education is a one-size-fits-all proposition," he said. He noted students can get lottery-funded scholarships toward tuition at private colleges in the state: "Why shouldn't we give the choices in K-12?"

The bill would allow parents to take a $4,000 tax deduction per child for tuition paid, $2,000 for homeschool expenses and $1,000 per child who attends a public school outside the district where he or she lives. It would allow people to claim tax credits for donating to newly created nonprofits giving scholarships to poor and disabled students.

Budget advisors expect the bill to reduce state revenues by $37 million in 2012-13 — a much smaller price tag from previous versions, due to caps on the total credits claimed by businesses and taxpayers who donate to the scholarships groups.

The projection includes tax deductions for more than 52,600 students in private schools, 10,400 in home schools, and 2,400 for outside school districts. Unlike previous bills, there is no phase-in for students already in private or home schools. All parents could begin claiming the deduction in 2012-13.

"All those families are already paying big bucks," said Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia. He said the tax savings is "just gravy for families who really don't need it."

The measure represents the fifth version of an idea that has died repeatedly since former Gov. Mark Sanford rolled out the first plan in February 2004. Another perfunctory vote in the House would send it to the Senate, where an identical bill has been introduced.

Last year's version died on the House floor by a vote of 61-59, and in the Senate Education Committee 6-10.

Neil Mellen, spokesman for South Carolinians for Responsible Government — a major lobbying group behind the idea — said 24 other states have some form of private school choice. He believes the idea has picked up steam here as lawmakers change their previous view that supporting it means not supporting public education. It's not an either-or proposition, he said.

Opponents argued the win stems from years of browbeating in which Republicans who didn't support the idea were targeted for removal during mudslinging primary races.

Rep. Boyd Brown, D-Winnsboro, said those who voted for it were OK'ing such nasty tactics and saying that's how things can get passed in this state. He said he also opposed it as "incentivizing parents to take their children out of public schools, to fracture our communities more than they're fractured now."

Mellen contends there's another type of pressure from the other side, with teachers being told to vocally oppose it.

The measure would allow tuition scholarships of up to $10,000 for students with disabilities and $5,000 for poor students. They could not exceed 75 percent of the full cost of tuition.

Opponents doubted the measure would truly help poor children escape failing schools, as supporters argue is the bill's purpose. But Mellen said programs in other states show tens of thousands of poor kids there are attending private schools through scholarships awarded.

Republicans killed amendments that would require yearly audits of those scholarship-granting groups, as well as public reporting of the number of scholarships awarded, amounts given, and to which schools.

by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 4:49 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Moma3boyz
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:56 AM
We have something like that in Indiana. Problem is your tax preparer can't claim the deduction for you and no one we have talked to seems to know how to file for it. I hope this one is better. It sounds like it could be.
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AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I live in SC. I have a toddler crawling on me - can someone give me a condensed version? Is this still going through the house - or did it really pass?

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Academic pushing Mother. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosey, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my child. I believe that my place, as a woman, is in the home caring for my husband and children. My husband is head of our home.             Aimee











mem82
by Platinum Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 12:32 PM
It is through the House. 8)
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oredeb
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

 what does it mean in my terms? simple!

Bethsunshine
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:18 PM
2 moms liked this

Personally, I wouldn't want a homeschool tax credit because of all the strings that go along with it. The government is already up in our business more than enough.

Bethsunshine
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:19 PM


Quoting AutymsMommy:

I live in SC. I have a toddler crawling on me - can someone give me a condensed version? Is this still going through the house - or did it really pass?


I grew up in SC. Where do you live?


Join us in Christian Homeschoolers!!



 


http://www.cafemom.com/group/3200

AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 9:21 PM

The Upstate :)

Quoting Bethsunshine:


Quoting AutymsMommy:

I live in SC. I have a toddler crawling on me - can someone give me a condensed version? Is this still going through the house - or did it really pass?


I grew up in SC. Where do you live?


I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Academic pushing Mother. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosey, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my child. I believe that my place, as a woman, is in the home caring for my husband and children. My husband is head of our home.             Aimee











Bethsunshine
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 9:22 PM


Quoting AutymsMommy:

The Upstate :)

Quoting Bethsunshine:

 

Quoting AutymsMommy:

I live in SC. I have a toddler crawling on me - can someone give me a condensed version? Is this still going through the house - or did it really pass?


I grew up in SC. Where do you live?

 

I'm from the central part, not too far from Columbia.


Join us in Christian Homeschoolers!!



 


http://www.cafemom.com/group/3200

ladyluke2007
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 9:24 PM

 Great, I just moved to Indiana.  lol

Quoting Moma3boyz:

We have something like that in Indiana. Problem is your tax preparer can't claim the deduction for you and no one we have talked to seems to know how to file for it. I hope this one is better. It sounds like it could be.

 

gacgbaker
by on Apr. 3, 2012 at 5:00 AM


Quoting Moma3boyz:

We have something like that in Indiana. Problem is your tax preparer can't claim the deduction for you and no one we have talked to seems to know how to file for it. I hope this one is better. It sounds like it could be.

Wow, that's amazing- why even have the tax credit if no one knows how to use it?  Crazy!

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